Why Handmade Outdoor Furniture is a Great Investment
Handmade Outdoor Furniture Will Last for Years to Come
In the world of outdoor furniture, one of the main questions we get is whether or not it is worth the money to invest in high end outdoor furniture. Attractive outdoor furniture makes a huge difference in how much you will use your outdoor living space. For many, a backyard patio is a great escape into the outdoors. It is an extension of our interior space and it should have the same look and feel that our homes have. Investing in high end outdoor furniture is not the main question to ask yourself. You should ask if you want to invest in quality, durable outdoor furniture that will last for years. Quality, long-lasting outdoor furniture should offer strength, and weather-resistant qualities. It might fall in the category of high end outdoor furniture, but top-notch craftsmanship will enable you to enjoy many long summer days and nights for years to come.
Two Outdoor Furniture Types: Wood and Metal
There are two main types of outdoor furniture to consider: wood or metal (iron and aluminum). We will break down the advantages of each and what will offer you the best value for high end outdoor furniture. Here’s a look at metal; iron and aluminum, and wooden high end outdoor furniture.
Metal Outdoor Furniture
Choose a cast iron, wrought iron or aluminum for metal outdoor furniture. Check for rust-resistant powder-coating on cast-iron and wrought-iron furniture. Aluminum outdoor furniture sets are naturally rust-resistant however often offer a shorter lifespan. Here are more details:
Iron – Some high end outdoor furniture is made of metal, especially wrought iron, which has an antique-look that is popular for bistro sets. Iron can be painted in a wide variety of colors and can be found in a varied price range. Because iron is heavy, it will last and it will withstand heavy winds and weather. However, it also makes it difficult to move easily but how often will you need to? One disadvantage of iron is that it’s not as comfortable as other types of seating. In addition, the metal can heat up to burning temperatures in the hot sun. Cushions can take care of these problems but you will want to consider a shade structure over iron furniture to keep it cool.
High end outdoor furniture made from wrought iron will last many years with regular maintenance although, it will need to be repainted from time to time as it ages to prevent rust. When shopping for wrought iron furniture, look at how it’s manufactured to make sure you are buying quality pieces. Wrought iron can be made either by extrusion, casting, or forging/welding, with the last option considered the strongest.
Aluminum – There are many outdoor furniture options made of aluminum, some are inexpensive folding chairs and others are a more permanent, better-quality item. Some really beautiful aluminum furniture is now being manufactured, although you will need to pay more for better quality pieces. Look for cast aluminum with a special powder coating on the metal, which helps it resist corrosion. Also, any furniture that has nuts and bolts will be a sign of a cheaper manufacturing process; the best quality pieces have a smooth welded joint work.
Unlike wrought iron, aluminum will stay cooler in the heat, and is easier to move. Very inexpensive, lightweight aluminum furniture should be stored during periods of bad weather; heavier-grade pieces can be left outside, although they will not last long over time.
Wooden Outdoor Furniture
Our favorite type of high end outdoor furniture is made from wood. Wood furniture is durable and will last many years with proper care; it’s important to look for quality here as well, because cheaper products may not hold up as well. Wood stays cool to the touch in hot weather. Since wood is a natural product and looks great, many homeowners prefer it over other types of outdoor furniture; however, avoid any furniture made from pressure-treated lumber, which contains hazardous chemicals.
A number of different woods are used to make patio furniture, with teak, redwood, mahogany and eucalyptus being most popular these days. Choose long-lasting wood for natural-looking outdoor furniture. Also, these woods can withstand outdoor weather better than wicker, pine or oak. All these woods will hold up well to outdoor use. If you want your furniture to look new every year then it is best to stain, varnish or paint the wood so be sure to look for finished wood furniture. If left bare your furniture will fade to a silvery color in the sunlight. Which means no maintenance and a more natural look.
Mahogany, redwood and teak are all naturally resistant to insects and decay, although redwood is somewhat soft and may dent. Teak has become desirable, not just because of all of the marketing efforts, but also because of its natural oils making it water-resistant. Although, the really good teak is hard to find, plantation teak is readily available. Unfortunately teak is typically the most expensive type of wooden outdoor furniture and it becomes rough to the touch once out in the elements for a couple of months. Mahogany has been used on yachts and boats for decades and is being marketed now as a relatively new outdoor furniture material.
Tips and Strategies
Here are some helpful tips for your high end outdoor furniture shopping:
- Do your online research before you head into any store. Quality and price can vary greatly, and you should know what the prices are before you see what is available locally.
- Before investing in any high end outdoor furniture, analyze the space where it will go. Think about, what you’ll need it for, will the furniture be sitting on grass or on a hard surface? Your answers will help determine if you need an umbrella or if you need a lighter weight furniture for grassy spots. It can also help you decide if you need a large table and chairs or just a simple set of comfy chairs with an end table between them.
- Go to the stores, but be prepared to walk out empty handed. Lift them up, move them around and most importantly, sit in them. Do they feel comfortable? This is the true test of whether or not you want them for a long time.
- If you’re buying a table for a patio or deck, measure the space that you’re planning to fill. Keep in mind that the chairs around a table take up an additional 24 inches of space. And then you’ll need an extra 24 to 36 inches from the back of the chairs to be able to walk around. Before you buy, go home with the furniture measurements and use chalk to draw the dimensions on your patio or deck to get an idea of whether it will all fit in the space.
- Cushions, pillows & umbrellas; If you plan on buying cushions for your outdoor furniture, select weather-resistant and mildew-resistant acrylic fabric. Be sure to find long-lasting cushions with a high UV rating and ventilation slits to avoid sun and moisture damage. Go with an umbrella that’s a lighter, neutral color. Otherwise a bright colored umbrella will look faded and dull by the end of the summer.
- Good craftsmanship: Outdoor furniture constructed using double mortise and tenons, on wood furniture is the ideal way to hold these pieces together. For metal furniture look for stainless-steel screws or brass screws – this will last much longer than furniture held together with glue or staples.
- Make sure you have a place to put the furniture during the winter months. If not, consider investing in heavy duty covers to protect each of the pieces.